In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American literary classic The Great Gatsby was first published. It is a tale rich with conflict, colorful characters and strong themes. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) has taken Fitzgerald’s story to new heights with his visually dazzling and strongly acting film. The Great Gatsby is a very visual ride that features an all-star cast, brilliant sets, costumes and special effects. It is essential to view this film on Blu-ray. The richness of colors and eye candy were basically made to be seen in HD.
The story is told in flashback by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a young man who goes into detail his relationship with the mysterious, rich and powerful Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Their friendship during the summer of 1922 is a fruitful one, filled with parties, booze and women. One such woman catches the eye of Gatsby and that’s the lovely Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), married of course to tough guy Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). The majority of the film focuses on Gatsby and his infatuation with Daisy and the trouble their tryst causes.
The Great Gatsby is a heartbreaking and powerful story which explores human emotion and social status. The search into Gatsby’s life takes many twists and turns. His past is covered in a shroud of mystery and throughout the course of the film, Nick slowly lifts that shroud to the audience. They have a friendship that is built on trust and mutual understanding but there are limits and Nick knows this. What happens to Gatsby is a result of this mysterious lifestyle.
Leonardo DiCaprio has once again given the silver screen yet another genius performance. His portrayal of Gatsby is one of glamour, prestige and extreme wealth. He plays the rich “prince” of West Egg, Long Island brilliantly and he is totally believable in his performance. The same can be said about Tobey Maguire, who has long since retired his Spider-Man tights only to play a very human and vulnerable character in Nick Carraway. Carey Mulligan (An Education, Drive) is exquisite as Daisy, the woman who has captured Gatsby’s heart. She truly looks like she could have existed in the “Roaring Twenties”. She just has that look and way about her. Joel Edgerton (Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty) rounds out the main cast as the brutish Tom Buchanan and he provides the film with a rather interesting “villain”.
The actors, believe it or not, are not the only attraction in The Great Gatsby. Showman Baz Luhrmann has directed one beautiful film here. His elaborate sets, costumes, cars and props all ooze 1920s. You actually feel like you’re in 1922. Lurhmann has transported his audience and the results are quite good. The use of music within the film is also worth noting as it serves to enhance the effect of the cinematic experience. The wizards at Industrial Light & Magic have also contributed to Gatsby’s world with glitter and champagne raining on Gatsby’s home and parties.
If you aren’t much for reading, then Luhrmann’s Gatsby might be your cup of tea. The story is told with much pomp and circumstance, so things keep moving in this 142 minute film. The direction is tight and the shots and cuts tell the story in an almost frenetic way. The actors all do a splendid job and the illusion of the 1920s world is so brilliant. The Great Gatsby may not be the greatest film but it certainly earns points for telling a compelling story in an easy to digest and fun way. Gatsby is one of DiCaprio and Maguire’s best works and if you want to see them shine in a very shiny Lurhmann production, then The Great Gatsby is the film for you.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features for The Great Gatsby are truly great. There are a bunch of featurettes, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and lastly, a trailer for the 1926 The Great Gatsby.